The Famous Cromer Crab
Published date: January 2019
Cromer crabs are caught in the North Sea around the Norfolk village of Cromer. The nutrient-rich waters and chalk shelf in this area mean the crabs are particularly flavoursome, fragrant and tender and are one of Norfolk’s most famous exports. These meaty crabs have a relatively high proportion of white to brown meat and can be used in lots of recipes but are arguably at their best when eaten freshly dressed with a squeeze of lemon juice and some freshly milled black pepper.
The Cromer crab has been caught in Norfolk for centuries and has long been an industry that attracts tourists from around the globe who are keen to sample this prized Norfolk delicacy. Plentiful in the county, the Cromer crab can also be found on high-end restaurant menus across the country and further afield. This delicious crab, with its unique delicate flavour is caught using pots, a traditional and highly sustainable way of catching. The crabs are caught live and are then checked to make sure they meet the legal requirements of size, before they are taken ashore. Those that aren’t the required size are thrown back into the sea alive. This method ensures that all crabs have at least one breeding season before they are eaten.
The crabbing industry provides important income and employment to the local area and the Cromer and Sheringham Crab and Lobster Festival, that is held annually, celebrates the local seafaring heritage and active fishing community of these two North Norfolk coastal towns. In 2019 the Festival weekend is the 18th and 19th of May and it is always a lively and popular event. The fun begins on Friday night with a traditional seaside variety concert at the famous Pier Pavilion Theatre in Cromer and continues over the weekend on Evington Lawns in Cromer. The Cromer and Sheringham Crab and Lobster Festival celebrates local restaurants, chefs, crafts, art, music and heritage and of course the famous Cromer Crab.
Sunday 25th August 2019 is when the World Crabbing Competition will take place on Cromer Pier. Join the fun for another family day out on August bank holiday Sunday 25th, 2019. You can compete as a team or individual competitor and try and catch the most crabs or the biggest crab. Registration begins at 9.30am with the competition kicking off at 10.30am. Winners will be announced on the pier at 1.30pm. To find out more about the Cromer and Sheringham Crab and Lobster Festival, visit the following website:
Here are some of the best places in Norfolk to sample the delicious Cromer Crab:
Rocky Bottoms - Cromer Road, West Runton, Norfolk, NR27 9QA
Upstairs No1 Cromer - New Street, Cromer, Cromer, Norfolk, NR27 9HP
Browne’s on Bond Street - 5 Bond Street, Cromer, Norfolk, NR27 9DA
The Moorings - High Street, Blakeney, Norfolk, NR25 7NA
Wells Crab House - 38 Freeman Street, Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, NR23 1BA
Bure River Cottage Restaurant - 27 Lower Street, Horning, Norwich, Norfolk, NR12 8AA
Anchor Inn – The Street, Morston, Norfolk, NR25 7AA
Cromer Crab Linguine
A simple yet tasty crab and pasta recipe
- 1 whole large cooked Cromer crab
- 300g linguine
- 25g sea salt
- 55ml olive oil
- 4 spring onions, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- ½ tsp finely chopped red chilli
- 25ml dry white wine
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Lemon wedge, to garnish
Remove all the crab meat, taking care to discard all ten of the spongy 'dead men's fingers'. Place all the meat, (including from within the claws and legs) and place in a bowl.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add the 25g sea salt and cook the linguine for 7–8 minutes, or according to the instructions of the packet.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and add the garlic, spring onions and chilli and gently fry for around 1 minute until softened but not coloured. Stir in the crabmeat and cook for another minute, until heated through. Add the wine to the pan and cook until most of the alcohol has evaporated.
Drain the linguine, keeping a few tablespoons of the pasta water and add to the pan with the crabmeat. Stir in the basil and parsley and mix together, adding a splash of reserved pasta water if the mixture looks too dry.
Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve with a wedge of lemon.
Cromer Crab Cakes
These fragrant crab cakes are quick to make and delicious
- 2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 2 red chillies, seeds removed and finely chopped
- 250g cooked Cromer crab meat (mixture of white and brown meat)
- 1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
- Zest of 1/2 a lemon
- 2 spring onions, finely sliced
- 2 free-range eggs
- 8 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
- Plain flour, for dusting
- 25ml olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Sweet chilli jam and salad leaves, to serve
Place the ginger, chilli, coriander, spring onion, lemon zest and crab meat in a bowl. Crack in one egg and mix well and then add half the breadcrumbs. Divide the crab cake mixture into 6 portions and mould into cakes with your hands. Place on a plate and chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes to firm up.
Preheat the oven to 180C, 365F, gas mark 4. Beat the other egg in a small bowl and place some plain flour in a shallow dish and the remaining breadcrumbs in another shallow dish. Dip each crab cake first in the flour, then into the egg and then finally coat in the breadcrumbs.
In a frying pan heat the olive oil and fry each crab cake for 2-3 minutes on each side, until crisp and golden. Transfer the crab cakes to a baking tray and bake for 8-10 minutes, until piping hot.
Serve the Cromer crab cakes with a dollop of sweet chilli jam on a bed of mixed leaves and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Cromer Crab and Sweetcorn Soup Recipe
A classic flavoursome soup that can be found in many restaurants
- 250g Cromer crab meat
- 300g canned sweetcorn, drained
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2cm piece of ginger, peeled and cut very finely
- 3 spring onions, finely chopped
- 1 litre chicken stock
- 50ml dry sherry
- 1 tsp cornflour - mixed with a little water to form a paste
- 1 free-range egg, beaten
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped, to garnish
- 1 tsp sesame seeds, to garnish
Place majority of the sweetcorn into a food processor and blend until smooth. Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat and gently fry the spring onion and ginger for about 3 minutes, until softened, but not coloured.
Mix in the crab meat, sherry, blended sweetcorn and stock and gently bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the remaining sweetcorn and the cornflour paste and stir until combined.
Using a sieve, pour the beaten egg through the sieve and into the soup so that you have strands of egg in the soup. Cook gently until the egg has cooked.
Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with chillies and sesame seeds.